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ETOBICOKE: Consultation for LRT starts over

By DAVID NICKLE April 16, 2009 2:33 PM

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) engineers are pressing the reset button in the planning process for the light rail transit (LRT) route set for Lake Shore Boulevard West. The TTC decided at its last meeting to restart the public consultation process in the Etobicoke portion of the route - after local businesses in the southernmost portion of Etobicoke Lakeshore worried that the LRT plan would be a disaster for their businesses.

Local councillor Mark Grimes pressed to restart the public consultation - so that local businesses can get better information with which to provide their input.

“Everything got misconstrued - some of the business improvement area members got fired up about it, that we’re taking buildings away, taking parking away,” said Grimes, of two poorly-attended consultation meetings held in December.

Grimes said the new consultation meetings, to take place in May, should help clear up those misconceptions - which he said is crucial to making the line’s construction work. The line is part of Transit City, a massive expansion in light rail along dedicated lanes across the city.

“We need to come up with a custom plan, and take a step back and hear what the community’s concerns are,” he said.

David Prichard, owner of the Birds and Beans cafe in Mimico, said the new consultation meetings will be welcome.

“The worries about the project as it was presented in December was that it would remove parking, make pedestrian access - even just simple things like crossing the streets much more difficult - and that it would really be a transportation system for getting people downtown but not serving the needs of travelling within the community,” he said. “I’m really encouraged that it looks as though they’re taking another look.”

The TTC will have time to fine-tune the project. Currently, the provincial government has agreed to fund other parts of Toronto’s Transit City plan. The LRT along Lakeshore won’t come online until at least 2015.